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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Triathlon Training Update.

Now both those words sound weird

Okay, so on the 14th I did my first speedwork during my 35 minute run. It included accelerations, a tempo run and drills. I thought I'd go into these, in case anyone is curious about increasing speed in their runs. And also it's therapeutic and will help stave off any PTSD symptoms I might have from the experience.

My schedule for this day's run: 15 minute warm up with 6 accelerations, a short tempo run of 10 minutes (I'm reading this article here and it says a classic tempo run is 15 minute warm up, 20 minute "comfortably hard" pace, 15 minute cool down), 4 different drills per leg, and then 10 minutes nice and easy.


From what I gleaned from my training guide, in order to do one of these you measure out, either by time, distance or feel, an acceleration of speed, but never going for a full out sprint. I just decided to keep it short and sweet, since I had to do six of them in my 15 minute warm up and had never done them before. I measured my distance using the lamp posts as markers. I think it was maybe 25 yards per burst.

These aren't so bad but I didn't walk after each acceleration to recoup. See, in the book, it said to find your "starting line" (in my case, a lamp post), accelerate until your "finish line" which is either found on the track, on your watch, or in your muscles if you're going for feel. Then they say to walk or slowly jog back to the starting line. Repeat six times.

I have this thing about Never Walking, so I just kept jogging along at my regular pace, which has increased from an easy 10 minute mile to perhaps a 9 minute mile. But those accelerations got me running definitely faster than my nice and easy pace was supposed to be and I think that damaged my resolve and speed during the tempo run.

Tempo Run

When I read up on this training tool it seemed easier than it actually was.

After getting all fired up with my accelerations, only 3 minutes after starting the "uncomfortably hard" tempo pace, I was like "So, when is this bastard tempo run OVER" and was dismayed when I checked my time. I made myself run to the water fountain, stopped for a drink. And then I walked. It was only about 10 paces, but still, I felt demoralized. I ran the rest of the 10 minutes at tempo pace to the other water fountain, and then staggered around in circles trying to catch my breath for the drills.


Oh man. Drills, according to this site, help you improve stride length and stride frequency, and "will also make you think about the way you run, making you concentrate on your technique and breaking down some of the key elements of your stride."

I write out my workouts on cards and take them with me, and I thought these drills would provide more forward motion. Since I have no idea what 25y is like, I figured that with my height, I'd do three strides per yard while running, so I aimed for 75 strides. Yeah... that was a big fail.

Butt Kicks: They are exactly how they sound. You don't move forward very much because your energy is focused on, yep, kicking your own ass. I thought the tempo run did that, but no.

High Knees: By far the most exhausting of the four, these bad boys wiped me out so quickly, I took two breaks in the span of 75 strides, once at 39 and another at 55. I looked like a high stepping parade pony going down a small stretch of track at the park, right by a very busy road. Wait, a tired high stepping parade pony.

Sideways Side-Step: This is sort of difficult to explain but you take a step to your right with your right foot, then cross your left foot in front of the right. Then you move your right foot to the right again, and bring your left foot behind your right foot. It looks sort of like a line dancing move. This one I did twice, once to the right, the next to the left. When I went to the left I was sure my legs were going to snap off at the groin, oh my God.

Skip: Yeah. I am nearly 32 years old and I skipped. In the drill it's much more exaggerated, not just a little happy skip, it's a bring-your-knee-high-up kind of skip. At least it came after all the others so people around me were aware that I was training. At least I hope it came across that way.

So, to conclude, this work out utterly exhausted me. It was humbling and made me realize that just signing up for a 5k and running until you taste blood and want to vomit afterwards isn't really training for speed, and that I have a long way to go as far as improvement. It was a really tough workout but now I know better of what to expect from myself, and I'm oddly looking forward to next week's speedwork, sort of like I'm looking forward to the next time I give birth without meds.

I'm crazy, I know.

Edited to Add: Yesterday afternoon after work I did my first swim + bike transition workout and it was refreshingly easy! I mean, the swimming was difficult of course, but going from the pool to locker room to bike wasn't bad at all. The only thing was that my skin was dried out from the pool so my skin felt itchy and stingy, made only worse when I started to sweat lightly.

Anyways, according to my book, I was supposed to do 1350 yards in 30 minutes. I didn't recall the time I needed to complete my yards, so I figured it was 35. I got home and was extremely disappointed to learn I was still swimming 5 minutes slower than I should... until I whipped out a calculator.

See, I'm swimming in a 15y pool (dammit), and most pools should be 25y. So I have to break down their distances and divide it by 15. So, for example when the book tells me to swim 50y four times in a row, I'm actually swimming 60. When it asks for 100y, I'm swimming 105. Those add up.

I'm proud to tell you I actually swam 1440y in 35 minutes. Tomorrow's swim workout? 1500y in 35 minutes.

Um, been there done that, folks.


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